Betty’s friends used to tease her about her dietary rules, but she takes them so seriously it’s not funny anymore. In fact, what once we dietary rules have become a tendency to be a perfectionist about everything, particularly her appearance. Lately, her friendships have suffered from her need for perfection.
Betty’s friends don’t know it, but the signs they are seeing are actually indicators of an eating disorder. Though they’re fairly obvious, it can be difficult to understand what they mean.
Eating Disorder Treatment in Maumelle
Eating disorders are serious. It’s not just a series of preferences in how, what, and when a person chooses to eat, though that is part of it.
Eating disorders have a high rate of co-morbidity, that is, they frequently occur alongside other disorders. Anxiety, depression, drug or alcohol abuse, trauma, and personality disorders are frequently found to be present with the eating disorder.
Also common is past sexual trauma. In fact, over half of those with a traumatic history have eating disorders. When something traumatic happens, it’s common to want to re-establish control over one’s life. Because everyone must eat, but every detail of that consumption is up to the individual, food is often the focus of that person’s efforts to regain control. Members of the military often experience eating disorders for much the same reason.
It’s also common for people with eating disorders to isolate themselves, leaving them alone to ruminate on their thoughts. It’s a vicious cycle—because the person is alone, they think a lot, and the thinking leads to further isolating, and so on.
Other signs of eating disorders include:
- Obsession with mirrors
- Obsession with appearance
- Going to the bathroom multiple times within a short period of time
- Dietary rules
- Low self-esteem
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Interpersonal issues
Types of Eating Disorders
Though anorexia is one of the more common eating disorders we hear about, it is actually very rare. Bulimia is the other frequently discussed eating disorder. In fact, the spectrum of eating disorders is much more complex. Broadly, there are restrictors (who restrict what they eat) and binger/purgers (who eat regular to large portions all at once and then purge the food out of their system).
Ramifications of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders can cause, at their most serious, death. In fact, an untreated eating disorder is likely to result in death eventually. Ongoing unhealthy potassium levels are likely to cause heart attacks. Aside from death, patients often experience hair loss due to malnutrition, esophageal tears, weakness, disruption of normal bowel function, and other serious consequences.
Though we are happy to begin seeing you immediately, it’s likely that within the first few weeks we’ll encourage you to see your primary care physician to ensure that any resulting physical problems are being addressed appropriately.
If you are the friend or relative of someone you suspect has an eating disorder, you’re right in being concerned. If you need help coping with your concern, or if you are thinking about staging an intervention, give us a call. We can help you figure out the appropriate next step.
How Do We Treat Maumelle Eating Disorders?
At Thriveworks Maumelle eating disorder counseling, we use cognitive behavioral therapy for treatment. This is important, because it helps us identify and treat not just a single eating disorders, but the thought process behind it. It’s the thought process that needs to be unpacked and examined.
This process can be broken down into about four stages of treatment:
Stage 1. Five to eight sessions. We will work with the patient to formulate goals for treatment. We will also help the patient become used to the process of weighing in, receiving education, and eating according to a healthier pattern.
Stage 2. The patient is assisted in identifying barriers to their goals. Goals and patterns decided upon in Stage 1 will be modified (if necessary) and reinforced.
Stage 3. About eight sessions. This is the core of Thriveworks Maumelle eating disorder treatment. The goal here is to help the patient determine what is pushing them to maintain the unhealthy ordered eating. Is it thoughts, feelings, or behaviors? We’ll help the patient address their thoughts first, because feelings follow thoughts and behaviors follow feelings.
Stage 4. Three sessions, plus or minus. Our goal in therapy is the ensure the patient makes changes and then has a plan for sticking to those changes. It’s in this phase that we begin to see the patient less frequently, as the patient will have developed skills for maintaining a healthy relationship with eating and food. Rest assured, we will still be available to assist as needed.
What About Group Therapy?
Group therapy, in which a number of people with the same core disorder come together to discuss progress and setbacks, is a common add-on to individual Maumelle eating disorder counseling. The cool thing about group therapy is it helps patients see that they’re not alone. Equally important, it gives an inside view into another person’s struggle, enabling the patient to see that everyone’s “rock bottom” is different—which can help the patient gain some perspective and insight into their own disorder.
Thriveworks Maumelle Eating Disorder Treatment
At Thriveworks Maumelle, we have therapists extensively trained in eating disorder treatment. Whatever your story is, however bad it’s gotten, they have the experience to help. All you have to do is make the first call. We don’t have a waiting list, so a Maumelle eating disorder counselor can usually see new patients quickly. We look forward to meeting you and helping you on the road to a happier, healthier life.
Sublette, Brad. Interview. August 2016.